Thursday, March 21, 2019

We invaded you

Stories and News No. 1162
In Italy a 13 years old boy save himself and the other students on a school bus hijacked from the driver calling help with his cell phone.

We invaded you.
Yes, it's true, I mean it.
It’s useless to deny it: we invaded you.
In countless ways, we did it.
Like "the attacker" and "the hero", the former armed with petrol cans and the latter with a phone, with which to call the police, if necessary. And sheltered by such popular masks, made so by the rumor of newspapers, here are the only features that serve the intended storytelling: "the bad immigrant" and "the good one".
But also the "Islamic terrorist" and the "brave citizen", despite according to the law the latter is still nothing more than a foreigner.
It matters something to know that for the man Islamic terrorism is excluded. But, if this "something" becomes little for the majority of people, why ask further questions?
Because what is now indelible, and must remain so the next day, is what we have done in very suspicious times: we invaded you, remember?
Then, let's not forget our origins: we’re "the Senegalese guy" and "the Egyptian kid".
Because our skin speaks for us, and we should scream at the top of our lungs to overwhelm the din, without getting to seize a bus to get that. Also because we would do nothing but increase the blaring where we have fallen, willy-nilly.
Yet, in tragic situations like these, the distinctions that should always make the difference come out, if you forgive the trivial repetition.
Even where life itself is at stake, or perhaps precisely in those moments, the role assigned by social rules could be experienced in the opposite way.
"The driver" and "the student" take different paths, and it happens more often than you imagine.
The one who should accompany the youngest to the place that will hopefully help them grow, suddenly takes the wrong direction and points towards the ravine beyond which his own mad sadness sinks.
At the same time, in order to face him, as if completing a sort of allegorical equation, the pupil removes his usual ordinance dress and relies on the true wealth that distinguishes all the populations to which he is often associated. What for ever and ever is one of the main prerogatives that makes us human. Read also as the tenacious, moving and irrepressible desire to survive.
We both often forget who we should be on this journey. It happens every day, anywhere, to anyone. And, from one moment to another, we become what we are.
That’s how something transpires, after the smoke of the click baiting titles and the catching "social networks likes" screams thins out.
This is the way by which we also become names, as well as the rest.
Ousseynou and Ramy.
In spite of this, if we add our faces as well, the inevitable subtext would be inviolate.

We have invaded you. And nothing of what has been said so far could affect this concept, set in the common memory of an entire country like the imprints of Hollywood movie stars. Made famous by the memory of the hands and the name, where in our case, instead of the former ones, there are the signs of the skin made guilty by definition.
Because that's how we did it.
It’s undoubted, it has already done, it’s happening even now, at this very moment, and it will certainly not end today.
No need to ignore it. Indeed, it’s even wrong to do so.
It’s a story that must be listened to and told, but to the end, once and for all.
Because we have invaded you, of course.
But not really us, you see?
Certainly not "the man" and "the boy", what we really are out there, beyond this screen, one in prison and the other luckily at home with his loved ones.
What entered with violence and hatred in your lives were just words, lots of words, infamous and inhuman words.
The ones that normally represent us, that’s what is attacking us all.
Now you know who you should expel, against whom you should raise walls and who really puts your peace and ours at risk.
Fortunately, you and us are something else and much more than a collection of letters.
Maybe it wouldn't hurt to meet in person sometimes...

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Nobody dies anymore

Stories and News No. 1161
Antonio Tajani, one of our fellow citizen who currently holds the role of president of the European Parliament, has recently spoke about Mussolini, arousing strong criticism also internationally, with a classic refrain typical of the more nostalgic far-right: the man has also done good things (bridges, roads, and so on).
This suggests me a story about Italy...

Once upon a time there was an old country.
I’m saying very old.
Indeed, a lot more. I mean extraordinarily so.
The exceptionally old country had got this particular nature from its inhabitants.
By that, I should have started the story by reciting: once upon a time there was an old country inhabited by old people. However, the qualifying adjective would have been redundant, and so I started from the place to point out those who live there, that's all.
I am referring to the persons who are old, very old, so old that they cannot in any way separate themselves from the past, however unpleasant to mention it and shamefully to think about.
The reasons of such great affection for gone days, without ifs and without buts, were due to an equally ancient emotion, rendered practically eternal once transformed into a lasting feeling, which like an indestructible cancer inexorably corrupted every atom of souls and bodies: the fear of dying.
In this regard, running the risk of seeming further fussy, I would have had to begin by writing: once upon a time there was an old country inhabited by old people since they were irremediably afraid of dying, but in this way I would have lost most of the readers just in the very beginning, between those who don’t want to listen about death, or fear. Imagine if both are in the same sentence...
Nevertheless, in the aforementioned country, time passed indifferently as always before human vices, since only humanity itself can find a solution to them. And, as so often happens, destiny ended up fulfilling the dream of those who incessantly nurtured their nightmares. Because since the beginning of time, being on the right side of history doesn’t give you the victory, but how ardently you desire it and you’re willing to fight.
Thus, the day came when in the oldest country in the world, inhabited by decrepit people, as well as frightened by the impending exhaustion of their time, no one died anymore.
Disbelief and bewilderment spread everywhere, a typical reaction to an epochal change.
However, after the right time, each of the old inhabitants of the old country began to perceive in its own being the presence of a void of undefined measures, because it never stopped in its constant growth.
Like discovering that the horizon for which you ended up sacrificing every second of your life was solely the result of your imagination. Because what yesterday was everything, today it’s nothing, and a moment ago what was true, now is the biggest lie you've ever told yourself.
So, all of a sudden, if the story started now, we should begin with: once upon a time there was an old, infinitely old country. Then, in order to keep the viewers' attention high, so far entwined with the plot, we should move the spot on the protagonists, specifying that there was once an infinitely old country, inhabited by equally old people, but at this point we would have the obligation to reveal the already introduced improbable characteristic, the only one that motivates the invention of a story.
Otherwise, in the real world there are lots of extremely antiquated nations or cities, with particularly elderly inhabitants and terrified of everything. And maybe you live in one of them, who can say?
Anyway, no more talk, here is the updated incipit: once upon a time there was an old country, inhabited by people who would have been old forever, because from one moment to the other they stopped dying. Consequently, shortly thereafter, they no longer feared death.
The beauty in the unexpected aspect of this absurd plot resides on what happened in the following days.
It was wonderful to witness it.
Above all, being in the shoes of the others, those who lived in the old town, next to the inhabitants who were forever old, but who weren’t old at all.
Because the disappearance of the fear of death fueled by an entire people was like the fall of a colossal, rotten and putrid tree, to say the least, malodorous and poisonous, whose branches had just as bad and no less polluting, hanging fruits.

In fact, the mother of all concerns, since had settled in their lives, had generated an incalculable number of so many other fears, composed of the same spoiled meat.
The fear of what appears to be different and what has the presumed guilt, rather than the undisputed fortune, of being born beyond the confines of your malaise.
The fear of everything that represents tomorrow, that is young or new, that sounds like revolutionary, or alternative.
The fear of the moment in which the genres and identities abused and violated in the past as if it were the present, and vice versa, are even more proud and bright than ever.
The fear, in short, of everything that means what you have lost and forgotten.
Existing now, here.
Therefore, if someday it will come true, may be blessed the moment when no one will die anymore.
Because, at the same time, it will mean that those we call ‘the others’ will finally be free.
To live...

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

The perfect social network

Stories and News No. 1160
According to a recent Italian research conducted on nearly 6000 under 20 young people about 1 in 4 of the interviewees never worried about the privacy of their data online and, almost as many, they are occasionally interested on that. In addition, more than 7 out of 10 teenagers joined a social network when they were under 14 and 4 out of 10 know only half of their so-called 'friends'.

My name is Mark, but I may have lied. I could also be Jennifer, or Carl.
Okay, okay, a possible lie is certainly not a good start, building everything else on that. However, I wouldn’t be the first, right?
In any case, my name is Mark and I am a person, period.
So far, nothing special, everything normal, almost like reality. Well, that ‘almost’ is what makes me awake at night.
So, I found the solution to all my problems.
I don’t tell you names, but I’m talking about a social network, that one.
You know it, right?
Well, I used my picture editor like a real magician and I showed a superfine care in describing myself with a handful of words, like the lords of the most effective synthesis.
Let's say rather him, that is me, or the version I want to make visible and directly related to... me, exactly. Everything returns to me, at the end of the fair, indeed, it should.
So, then I worked hard to connect with my social buddies.
To connect...

To link the dot that represents me with those who in turn identify the people who I wanted or agreed to connect with.
Is that okay? Wow, you’re so fussy, and curious too, because not even a year later something that should not have manifested has invaded the frame that concerns me.
Thus, I can no longer deny it.
My name is, perhaps, Mark, I am therefore a person, although not even that is sure, but I am certainly very touchy.
Okay, okay, common stuff, nothing extraordinary, but it's an uncovered nerve in my case, and when they have given me the power to decide what to reveal and what not, why should I let my faults be public?
Nonetheless, in the social network, that one, I have now burnt all. So, I reset everything, I’ve learned from the previous mistakes, and I joined the other one.
You see what I’m talking about, right? It's better, you know? Because it's simpler, come on, and there aren’t those trolls that infest the previous one.
It seems true, said like that...
In any case, with a renewed profile, I’ve got a new digital life.
With maniacal precision I chose an avatar that was not in any way comparable to the old one, a nickname that was quite trendy, and an attractive presentation for the modern relationship market.
Yes, I see, this makes us all like products lined up on the shelves of a supermarket. But what's the problem? I could not wait to be virally bought, if this was the way to feel popular as I have always dreamed of.
Nonetheless, the nasty surprise, like the expiration date of the goods to which I have just compared us, it came out punctually from the virtual carpet.
Okay, okay, I'm still Mark, or maybe I still pretend it's my name, I should be a person until proven otherwise, they caught me on the fact in my chronic touchiness, but suddenly they also discovered me as a first-class whiner.
To make it clear, the first tears appear on the threshold of my eyes with an incredible ease.
How did I do it...
Yet I studied lots of editing tutorial videos. Believe me, I was sure to have cut off the end of the clip with which I expressed my condolences for that kitten who died alone at its home; every newspapers have spoken about it.
Nevertheless, it’s good to share a passionate and heartwarming speech in solidarity with the little creature, and it’s not to explode immediately after in a sob like a child in a hysterical crisis.
Obviously, despite just a couple of hours after the publication I erased the evidence of my unaware epic fail, it was too late, since the video had already been downloaded and shared everywhere.
The following months were terrible. I closed myself at home and I lived like an outcast vampire, going out only late at night for some essential shopping.
However, I had to react, I knew it, and that heaven bless internet and all the chances it offers to creatures exiled from the realm of bits.
So, in the meantime I let my beard grow and I shaved completely. So, I looked in the mirror and I said to myself: you’re ready to get back on track. That is, on a social network.
I’m talking about the new one.
You know it, right? Don’t? Well, you’re old, then, because in a few years it will overcome them all.
With the now acquired professional competence I uploaded an indecipherable and fascinating image and I have introduced myself with a couple of sentences capable of catching the attention of the dead too, really.
Okay, okay, I’m boasting myself, but you always need a lot of excitement to start over.
They were happy days, those ones.
That is... they were for the new digital projection through which I began to interact with other compound reflections of the same substance.
Then, however, the usual curse hit where it hurts the most.
And where does it? Here, on the chest where at this precise moment I’m putting the finger to, in spite of nothing hurts there, on the hopefully painless planet.
I didn’t want to... and also that time it was the finger, or maybe what moved it.
Read the latter as the unfulfilled desire to share my secret weaknesses.
How I wish I had not pressed the button to join that damn group, with an unequivocal title: ‘Those who sleep with the light on in the room because they are afraid of the dark.
If they knew that in my case, the one on the corridor and even the light in the bathroom should be counted, even if they’re low consumption kind.
So, I found myself with the following information publicly disgraced and put one after the other: my name is Mario, yes, I am a person, I confess. And I'm touchy, whiny and a coward.
Nevertheless, I absorbed the blow again, but I didn’t give up, because as long as there is internet there is hope.
I am willing to cross the entire World Wide Web in search of the perfect social network.
There must be somewhere the one that will help me for ever to hide who I really am...

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rights expired

Stories and News No. 1159
Indulge me.
Yes please. Treat me as one of those frail and vulnerable people, who more or less consciously require condescension from others.
On the other hand, the utopian hope of both, storyteller or simply creature with the a seriously compromised sense of reality, is the same: that the journey, or its conclusion, is worth of your time, if not the ticket’s price.
The starting point from which the following dream was born is a fact, like the true news where I usually draw inspiration writing a story, and it precisely concerns the possible diffusion of the latter as a literary work.
In this regard, as many know, sooner or later the author's right to his own creation will end.

From that moment, the story, the words that compose it, the following moral and the characters which contribute to it, become instantly public.
Suddenly, everything belongs to everyone.
Insist to indulge me, then.
Even if at this point you knew where I’m willing to go, pretend to be distracted by the childish ingenuity from which once again I confess to be suffering.
Let's say that, further consequence of the aforementioned symbolic expiration, something similar happens within the story itself.
Imagine what might happen to the protagonists of a life already written by their creator.
I invite you to do it now with the stories that you loved the most, because I could not help but imagine how much joy exploded in Cyrano de Bergerac’s heart on the fateful distance from the disappearance of his literary father, Edmond Rostand.
The formidable swordsman, as well as superfine rhymer, finally freed from the slavery of the ever usual plot, experienced and relived every time in the reader’s eyes and mind, with the inevitable and tragic horizon, on the new day, master of his own destiny, he will reveal his love to Roxane. Besides leaving the honest and loyal Christian to play his own cards without his friend’s help. The girl herself will choose between the young man’s beauty or the captain’s poetry.
Yes, I know, it's an implausible design, it’s infantile stuff. Like believing that toys, as in the famous animation movie, when kids go out, decide to come to life, transforming the bedroom into their personal world.
Anyway, continue to indulge me, please.
I know it's easy to figure out where I'm trying to lead you.
In the meantime, I voluntarily lower my eyelids and, as if might be visible to the naked eye, I observe what happens in the wonderful town of Oz at the end of the rights that imprison the latter to a forced course. I see the moment when it's up to Dorothy to fulfill her wish, after the scarecrow and her fantastic friends have done the same.
I know, the girl likes the idea of going back to Kansas, where her house and family are. The fact is that this has already happened an incalculable number of times, repeating the same inexorable choice to the bitter end, and in favor of the sovereign reader as much as the author himself.
Well, once free, she forgets the red shoes, and so the invisible chains of a magic written by someone else that is not her.
Some may consider their home the most beautiful place to be, but it will be there even when she’ll return. At the same time, the incredible place where she has flown still has wonders to show and if there is one thing that Dorothy has learned over the years it’s that they become infinitely more when you are guided by your own personal imagination.
Of course, I am aware of the weakness inherent in this shameless gamble. Nonetheless, I won’t tire of repeating it, I humbly ask you to indulge my bizarre theory for a moment, although many of you will see an instrumental manipulation to accompany the reader to a predictable conclusion.
Meanwhile, I take one of the first classics I read as a kid, The Three Musketeers, and since the rights on the heroic protagonists are expired long ago, I open it and reread it, indeed, I see the whole story for the first time woven in a plot perhaps less adventurous, more banal, and not very animated, but certainly more pleasant for the poor Constance, the girl loved by D'Artagnan, for whom she has the same feeling, despite being already married. The woman was condemned by Dumas to the same destiny as many others in lots of novels: sacrificed helping the reader to define in his own imagination the classic contours of a tormented, suffering hero, and for this reason he is further devoted to his mission. But as much as I loved the original version, in the anarchist one I admire now D'Artagnan manages to save Constance from Milady's poison. So, with her and for her, he turns his back on the King and his friends musketeers. “By the way, you’re already three,” I seem to hear him saying in the farewell speech, “therefore, the title is respected.” And they lived happily ever after, in any case. Indeed, no, at least as far as Constance is concerned, much more.
Okay, I give up. These are rantings of little meaning, which can hardly be authoritative in the face of works that have earned eternal hospitality in the library of novels of universal value.
However, where you have supported me so far, do it for a last chance, and imagine us all as the protagonists of a story, which often, especially today, takes horrible roads, despite the fact that they have already been crossed several times.
Yet, we too have had our moment of liberation from the nightmare of a very troubled present and a far darker ending.
The final chapter of the human novel has seen the end between 8 May and 2 September 1945, the day the curtain fell on the second world war.
Therefore, most of the authors of that terrifying book disappeared long ago, and with them the madness of one race over the others, the inhumane confinement of creatures unjustly considered guilty of diversity and the cruel isolation of members of the society unduly marked as undesirable.
We are not obliged to continue to relive this plot.
We are free not to be the monsters of the past.
We have inherited the power to move on the right side of history.
In this regard, don’t indulge me anymore.
Just trust me on this.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

All for a kiss

Stories and News No. 1158
On February 18, 2019 George Mendonsa, or Mendonça, died. He was ninety-five years old and became famous for a photo, but above all for a kiss. A stolen one, literally.
According to the chronicles of the time, on August 14, 1945 George was in New York and he was watching a movie at the well-known Radio City Music Hall. He was with Rita, the woman who would later become his wife, when some people entered the hall and began shouting words that everyone in the world was waiting with anxiety and hope.
The war is over.
A marvelous phrase, a forbidden dream for entire generations struck by a bitter destiny and whispered to the utmost almost every day by those who are obliged by History to consider peace only a coveted horizon, instead of the natural condition.
Besides there are conflicts and battles of all kinds, in this world, whose soundtrack is not necessarily composed of mortar shots and machine guns’ bursts.
Anyway, George ran out with Rita, and began to cheer like a madman, as everyone else.
He was a sailor, a crew member of a warship called USS The Sullivans (DD-537).
Also for this reason, the exceptional news made him lose his mind.
So, between the shouts and the confusion, wandering the streets of the Big Apple, he forgot about Lisa and suddenly came across Greta Zimmer.
The latter was twenty one years old. She was born in 1924 in Austria, from a Jewish family. In 1939, therefore at the age of fifteen, she was forced to flee her country at that time controlled by the Nazis, along her two younger sisters. Their parents never managed to escape and died in a concentration camp.
At the time of the so-called V-J Day, when Japan surrendered, Greta worked as a dentist's assistant.
As soon as she learned the big news, like so many she went down the street to celebrate, still wearing her white work coat.
That's why George mistook her for a nurse. And that's why as such she became popular in the equally famous picture.
The sailor approached, took her in his arms and gave her a kiss.
Thus, the photo became history.

You know? I like to image our common life told and witnessed by photographs that fill a gigantic album, which sooner or later we will be able to derive the general story from. It may be incomplete, of course, because much is lost beyond the limits of a camera lens, modern or not.
For this reason, I am convinced that in that precious collection there aren’t only the photos actually taken, but also other images, equally important, no less significant and very important to understand what happened then and, above all, what is happening today.
Then, I look at the photo of the sailor kissing the alleged nurse, but then I close my eyes and I see more.
I see another photo, in which the girl stops the man and refuses the kiss, resolutely convinced that she has to decide who to share her lips and when.
In yet another she is taking the sailor in her arms and she is kissing him, reversing the weights of a storytelling that still insists on showing us love from a single and arrogant side.
Below, I see further scenes, in other days and different places, but all around the famous topic, which seems to say to those like myself: I challenge you to stand comparison with reality.
Well, I see right now other suggestive photos that in my humble opinion deserve the eye of the most.
Among all, the embrace of a volunteer to a migrant child, where the latter word should make the first totally useless as inappropriate. The kid has overcome the sea and the fear of not survive the trip.
In the image the girl kisses him on his forehead, so the official script is respected.
It is more than ever in the sentence that acts as a caption to the whole, drawing inspiration from what the child thinks and feels exactly at that moment.
The war is over, that is, I'm at peace, I'm safe, I did it.
And so on, other invisible photos are added in my mind, of magical encounters, between those who celebrate a happy moment and those who try to forget all those who preceded it.
These are also moments to remember, this is History too, the one an incalculable number of people, who are a fundamental part of it, have rejoiced and still do today, despite for a few seconds.
All for a kiss...

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Friday, February 15, 2019

News like uncompleted fairy tales

Stories and News No. 1157
Once upon a time.
Everything starts like this, from fairy tales to our own life.
Which in the early days is wonderfully slow, with small hands and eyes made wide by curiosity for everything, regardless of the flowing time, at least until it comes to knock on our door demanding an early growth.
Sometimes it’s an obligation that tastes of pain and unbridgeable voids. Often, it’s just the need to take the responsibilities that someone else have guiltily left us as inheritance.
Nonetheless, from your official entry into the world of the so-called adults, the haste becomes master of your life.
There is no time, there is no more, it never was, until you are convinced that it has always been like that, from the very beginning.
Nevertheless, as an adult you are formally invited to be aware of what’s happening beyond your nose.
Well, where do adults find information about the things of the world?
Long ago there was only the TV News, as a solo voice to tell the so-called facts of the day, along with the newspapers.
Thanks to the advent of Internet, much has changed. Above all, it allowed the actuality’s tellers to be many more. Some came from above, lots from below, as much as the most extreme points of thought and perceiving reality.
That it was good, this is undoubted, because plurality means enrichment for everybody.
What has remained the same, however, in many Western and old countries, it’s the way we read the news.
It has been said, more on, and it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: there is no time and there has never been, in our memory, and because of the haste, never our superficiality, we will only take what we want to hear.
This leads us, paradoxically, when the story began.
Once upon a time.
As in fairy tales, which children had all the time in the world for.
However, as adults, everything stops shortly beyond the title, with at most a quick look at the summary.
An ocean of news articles read as shreds of stories deprived of the fundamental plot, which in the last twenty years have formed and calcified the public opinion of an entire generation.
So, we started to lose the best of each story, reading the news like uncompleted fairy tales.
Well, imagine one of the most famous among the latter as the headlines of a news magazine.

Little Red Riding Hood would become “Wolf eats girl child and her grandmother”, pointing the target on the ferocious animal, or “Hunter kills wolf and finds in the belly two people still alive”, using the usual clickbait with the video that resumes the belly’s incision.
Read it as the evil beast, but for the most, the bad wolf.
Inevitably, the article would focus on the latter, and on the danger due to its species. Because, once slammed the usual monster on the front page, automatically all the wolves would become bad, especially in the eyes of the most careless of readers. Only a few of them would be interested in the actual affair in detail. And we already know the consequences of the popularity of the fact in its most striking aspects.
For months, years, to the bitter end, journalists and columnists, TV hosts and influencers, but also Youtubers and VIPs, obviously politicians or normal people who aspire to popularity at any price, would begin to daily devote themselves to the problem of bad wolves in our countries.
Social pages would come up like mushrooms to defend the brave little girls, but also sheep, chickens and hens, threatened by the vile ferocious beast.
At the same time, the sale of shotguns and the propulsion to create brave patrols of poachers would exponentially increase.
Not to mention the experts in the various talk shows that will dwell on the mellifluous and perfidious nature of a creature capable of posing as a poor old grandma to feed on her nephew.
Needless to say, that would be just a matter of time, before someone almost exclusively based their political party's program on the war against the evil wolves that infest our woods.
What a pity.
What a great misfortune, this rush.
What a serious mistake, it’s having not the opportunity to read the whole story.
How many fundamental questions could arise, to nurture the intellect and open the mind.
For example, wondering why the mother of such a small child, who should be aware of the risks, decides instead to let her go alone in the woods.
Where is the father, when needed, would be the second inescapable question.
Then we might ask ourselves about an aspect of crucial importance: why do we call bad a creature that, as a predator, does nothing but satisfy its natural need for food?
Until an observation that every child, still protected from the anxiety of age, would be able to do.
In the fable we talk about a wolf, just one, nor a pack, let alone all the wolves in the world.
Instead, there is no time, there is no more, and because the hurry and especially our frivolity, we have deprived the tales and today's representation of a moral which to get precious teaching from.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Marionettes and spectators

Stories and News No. 1156
So, let's start from here.
Imagine that Giuseppe Conte was a great statesman, he was the Prime Minister elected for his skills and merits, that he authoritatively leaded a two-colored government formed by Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini’s League, who respected the man and relied on his competent and wise leadership. Thanks to the three, Italy was living a brilliant phase of its economic, cultural and social growth.
Well... if you think so, stop here, I understand. I mean, no, I don’t really have any idea of what whirls in your mind, but I don’t think you'll easily agree with the following.
From this point on, then, let's say that Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe at the European Parliament, is right about what he recently said about Italian premier and the current government.
Let’s consider his accusations reasonable, that Conte is a puppet in the hands of Di Maio and Salvini.
Therefore, according to this thesis, the Italy Premier is a man who accepted his position knowing that, once he took his oath, he would put himself at the service of the other two, following their will, promptly following what both demand.
I mean, like a mother who spoils her two children, undergoing their arrogance, satisfying their whims and enduring their continuous and selfish quarrels, to the detriment of their education. Like a president put in charge of the umpteenth poor country, but with the ground rich of oil, by the nth foreign power. Is it not clear? Like the Bounty’s boatswain who mistreated the sailors and especially the hubs proving to be loyal to Captain Bligh and his cruel management of the crew.
Do you like it? No? Okay, okay. I will be short, then: like a marionette, which, with more or less invisible threads, is maneuvered from above.

So, imagine the scene, like a fairy tale, or a stage play.
Once upon a time there was a marionette of flesh and blood, who, like the well-known wooden puppet, lied knowing he was lying, in his case about his autonomy to decide and lead an entire country.
The marionette of flesh and blood – if Verhofstadt is right, was nothing more than a puppet whose arms and legs, as well as of the mouth, with words and speeches, were driven by his masters.
The puppeteers, Di Maio and Salvini, were above the stage, suitably unseen.
Now, still following the Verhofstadt’s version of Conte and his government, what is lacking in this metaphorical theater is the audience.
In other words, the paying viewers.
Well, it's us, all of us, no one feels expelled from the hall, except the immigrants, given the recent Italian politics.
However, following the metaphor, the spectators are all those who pay with their own pocket, or with their own life, this childish staging. And if the highest price determines the best chair, then let's face it, come on, the more comfortable seats are intended for them, the migrants. Then young people and women, persons with health problems and all the marginalized and discriminated categories of our society.
That’s the fate of those who act as extras in the lucky few people’s dream: to be the protagonists of everyone's nightmare.
Here we are, then, all gathered, in front of the show that has been started for quite a while now.
The marionette talks and dances in an uncoordinated and confused style, sometimes because waiting for the command, others because the two occult directors quarrel with each other.
Yet, most of us assist in good order, some even praising and applauding the performance, even after paying the ticket, and not even having the alibi to not knowing that the actor on stage is a living marionette, but without life.
I leave you with questions that I consider as compelling as unavoidable.
If this is the actual reality in which we live today, what makes us remain seated without protest?
Why we endure, and we are happy with that?
But above all, why we are convinced that this is the best we can have?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Do you need anything?

Do you need anything?

A short story by
Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

We dream.
We often forget we did, but sometimes something survives in the morning.
Frequently it’s the most terrible nightmares to see the daylight, but even some beautiful dreams cross the threshold of consciousness and are the most vivid ones, despite improbable, with hints of reality that often is more tangible than what we actually touch every day with bare hands.
The same happens with some stories and at the end of the day you don’t know if you've dreamed, or just read a strange tale.
This is what occurred to Sam, eleven years and a rather vulnerable imagination before the castles in the air that surround us every day.
That Sunday he had spent most of the afternoon in the hospital to visit his grandmother, ninety years old and a destiny now marked by the usual, unforgiving tumor.
The good thing was that all her children, and most of the relatives, were close to her, to accompany her in the last part of her life.
In the evening, after having dinner and watched some TV with his parents, the little boy went to sleep, full of thoughts.
He turned off the bedside lamp, closed his eyes, and after a few moments he fell asleep.
The REM phase didn’t take long to go on stage, with the unconscious manager to lead his amazing theatrical company of memories and fantasies. Because, let's not forget, at eleven years dreams have such a power to create great shows, this is undoubted.
"Welcome, doctor," a young lady in white told him once the curtain of his brain had opened. She was so much like the nurse who was taking care of her grandmother. "I accompany you for your usual visit."
Sam accepted without discussing the role assigned by his psyche.
Because, let's not forget that too, at eleven the courage to get involved is also spectacular.

"This is a hospital, right?" He asked to be sure where he was.
"Sure, doc. We are in the ‘clinic of the contrary needs’. "
"And I'm the doctor."
"Sure, you're not an adult like our patients."
"Don’t we have children patients?"
"Doctor, are you kidding me? You and all the kids are the only ones who can treat those grown-ups."
Sam didn’t understand what the girl meant, but it was only a matter of time before he had it all clear.
"Come, let me meet our guests."
They entered a room, also very similar to the grandmother’s, where there was a guy in front of a computer who was talking about stock exchange and shares.
"As you well know, doctor," said the nurse, "here we treat the misunderstood needs. This man is convinced that it’s nature that needs us when it’s exactly the opposite. That's why he loses his time making money, instead of taking care of the environment."
The second patient was a guy who, with lime and bricks, was intent on pulling up walls after walls around him.
"This man believes that immigrants need him, ignoring that it’s exactly the contrary. Because humanity is just the one who knocks on your door. Without you’re like an endless desert, where mirages are all that will remain in your hands at your death."
The third patient, on the other hand, was a guy who had stuffed his head into a monitor, like a kind of diving helmet.
"He is the craziest one," said the girl, "because he is persuaded that he doesn’t need to listen to his neighbors, while the latter have this need. As if his voice is everything, and everything is the nothing that depends on it."
Another one swam in a bathtub full of cell phones, and he was the man who thought he needed a phone to meet others, neglecting the mocking reality.
"Which one?" Sam asked.
"Simple, doctor, you should know it better than me. He’s one of those men who are obsessed of needing objects, rather than the inverse. "
And so on, the journey continued in the clinic of contrary needs, where the adults were treated for their absurd contradictions.
So, at the end of the tour – and of the dream, he asked the most important question.
"Why am I the doctor?"
"Because only a child, who needs all the best that the adults might offer him, is able to remind them of the importance of welcoming the gifts of life and recognizing them if they are revealed."
Music, curtain closed, and sunlight through the window.
Sam lifted his eyelids and rushed to the kitchen, where his mother was preparing breakfast.
He approached her, he said good morning, the woman answered the greeting, and then the child whispered: "Mom..."
"Yes, Dear?"
"Tell me, do you need anything?"

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The craziest wall

Stories and News No. 1155
There is a hell.
It’s here on earth.
Sometimes you could find it in the mind of some.
Often in the emptiness of the latter of a few, who are doing their utmost to make life difficult for many.
In this hell, placed in plain sight on the surface of the most maltreated planet of the solar system, there is a particular infernal circle, eccentric, to say the least.
Indeed, it’s literally so.
In fact, there is a strange kind of damned persons living in it indefinitely.
These creatures are so devoid of intelligence that the small brain left has avenged the heart for its loneliness, wounding it to death where it proverbially suffers.
That is, where the eye obsessively looks at what doesn’t exist except in a madman’s delirium.
In the aforementioned circle there have been assembled the crazies who have dedicated their very existence to the construction of walls even more insane than them.
So, follow me, as an improvised Virgil, and you, as a new Dante, descend with me to the most unconscious ring of this filthy spiral.
The guests of the latter build a wall every day. They fall asleep at sunset thinking they have finished their schizophrenic task, but in the morning the wall is broken down and they are forced to start over. So on, for eternity.
Starting from the top, on the largest circle there are those who build a wall pretending to prevent the falling stars’ light from reaching the most indomitable dreamers’ gaze, who just need the flash of a second to dedicate a whole life to their utopias.
Below are those who are building a wall to forbid a mother from embracing her son every time they both desire nothing else from the common destiny.
Further down there are those who delude themselves to place a wall between the civil conscience and the supportive action of good will people, as if they weren’t the same thing to them.
Immediately below, there are those who believe that their wall was capable of stopping the truth seekers’ race towards the horizon they have chosen, ignoring that those who aren’t satisfied with lies, they’ll go on to the bitter end, because they love and respect all the right questions, even if they’ll never be answered.
In some cases, especially for that.
Then there is a ring inhabited by those who are persuaded that their wall will blind those who see only humanity around, where their senses are no longer able to distinguish what is alive from what is about to be born.
So, there is a ring where some stand up with their own bodies to make themselves a wall between the hopes of the poor and even the slightest possibility of their realization. As if these invisible yet indomitable aspirations were something tangible or even stoppable. And so on, down, and still down. From ring to ring, ever smaller, with the madness that grows as the circumference diminishes, until we’ll reach the most foolish of all.
Here he is, look at him with me and pity this guy...

Look at the madman who concentrates every effort to build the craziest wall.
The one that should hinder the path of people who wish to survive, allowing their own children to have a better life.
Well, do you know, among other things, why is it the craziest?
Because since the first man on earth appeared, it’s the one that was knocked down more and with greater noise...

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Italy’s joke

Stories and News No. 1154
The joke:
Listen to this.
There is a palace, right? A strange building in the shape of a boot, you know? But it stands up, despite everything it's standing and people try to live better.
Anyway, listen, because it didn’t end up here.
There are 60 people in the building, okay? There are those living on the ground floor, those at half height, and who obviously is at the attic.
That’s typical.
What you don’t know is that among the 60 people, 55 have the same citizenship, the building’s one, okay? Imagine that the building is like a nation, right?
Well, therefore, you can call the 5 remaining as foreigners. But they still live in the building, you know? But for most of the 55, they are “the 5 foreigners on the building”.
Yes, I know, it’s funny, but I haven’t finished yet, wait.
You must also know that in this palace people continue to decline year after year. They’re always less, do you understand?

Consider that the “inhabitants of controlled origin” - let's call them like that, are becoming less, together with a slight increase of the foreigners, but the result doesn’t change that much.
The building is slowly emptying. This is the trend, okay? Like one of those old skyscrapers in the suburbs that over time are empty, you know?
Wait, I still have something to say.
As evidence of what I just told you, regardless of whether mothers are among the 55 or that handful of so-called 5 foreigners, births are less each year.
Do you understand what I mean?
Less children are born every year. It means that fewer couples are around, or the latter find hard to be optimistic about the future, which to invest on by forming and expanding their family.
At the same time, you should know that in this building life expectancy improves.
Therefore, especially among the 55, the average age annually rises.
Well, do you begin to imagine what kind of place is that?
Apart from a small number of families with children, you have a lot of elderly guys or living alone, while the few young people take their belongings and move away.
At the risk of sounding monotonous, I summarize to make you better realize the absurdity.
Consider an old building, with fragile foundations and poor infrastructure, okay?
In the palace, I told you, there are 60 people: 55 call themselves citizens and the 5 remaining are branded as foreigners, with limited rights and dignity, okay?
Most of those 55 are old and lonely, you know? And every year they are less and older.
Listen, now, listen carefully, because this is really crazy.
Suddenly a guy who lives on the upper floors arrives, proposing himself as a building administrator.
Do you want to know what he tells the 55 to get elected?
He tells them that things will be better for everyone if they allow him to evict those 5 foreigners...
But not only that: if they prevent other strangers from entering the palace, everyone will live happily ever after.
Well, look, do you want to know how it ends?
They elected him!
Can you believe it?

The reality:
According to the last Italian National Institute of Statistics report: Less residents are in Italy. At the first of January 2019 the population corresponds to about 60 million inhabitants, over 90 thousand less than the previous year. The population of Italian citizens has fallen to about 55 million, while foreign citizens are 5 million. Births are falling among Italian women but also among foreigners. At the same time, in 2018 there is a new increase in life expectancy at birth. For men it’s about 80 years while for women it’s 85. Italian young citizens continue to go away without returning.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dirty work

Stories and News No. 1153
Let’s talk about freedom.
What a powerful invention it is.
In the hands of those who grant it and especially those who tell stories about it.
In this regard, I give you an excerpt from Freedom House's recent, customary annual report on the conditions of freedom in the world: punitive approaches to immigration are resulting in human rights abuses by democracies - such as Australia’s indefinite confinement of seaborne migrants in squalid camps on the remote island of Nauru, the separation of migrant children from their detained parents by the United States, or the detention of migrants by Libyan militias at the behest of Italy - that in turn offer excuses for more aggressive policies towards migrants and refugees elsewhere in the world. Populist politicians’ appeals to “unique” or “traditional” national values in democracies threaten the protection of individual rights as a universal value, which allows authoritarian states to justify much more egregious human rights violations.

It’s freedom, ladies and gentlemen, which is a weapon too, when it’s used by a government characterizing the whole country.
In our case, Italy, even since our birth as a nation.
In fact, this privilege – which makes us a fortunate nation before to the so-called dictatorships of the planet, historically consists in the freedom to entrust the most unpleasant tasks to others.
I refer to saying and doing what we are ashamed of, but it’s something that many of us always want to say and do.
However, it’s certainly not in the DNA of this land to directly take responsibility for the rot that stagnates inside.
A the end of the day, there is always someone who’ll do what it must do, but when it sucks out, nobody knew anything about it.
Speaking of the last century, you can see for instance the former fascist who becomes democratic and Christian, into a grotesque as paradoxical mutation, saying he had certainly no idea what the Nazis were doing to the Jews.
The decades have followed one another, for this strange kind of republic built on the most convincing words, rather than the evidence of the facts, but the role game has remained the same.
According to the current script, the vice Premier Luigi Di Maio plays the voice of the average citizen.
Giuseppe Conte is the moderator on the field, a fundamental figure, and acts a bit like the classic TV presenters, always ready to stop any exuberance from the most irreverent comedians.
But it’s Matteo Salvini who lives the most fulfilling role, at least for him.
Being a villain on the theater stage, like in the movies, is a hoot, because you have permission for once to show off the worst of you, and even get paid and applauded for it.
It’s a kind of freedom that is so coveted, dormant in the consciousness of every human being, that today, by dint of confusing the vocabulary of our decency, we have incredibly managed to transform into something normal.
This is why those who guide our countries in these times no longer need to delegate to others the opportunity to vent their inhumane instincts on the most defenseless creatures in the world.
The real problem is that by insisting to attend cowardice and pusillanimity, we have not understood that being cruel with the weakest ones is not a form of courage either.
Quite the opposite.
In that we are good, we have always been. And whether it might be our government, or someone else doing the dirty work for us, the judgment of history about our actions won’t change.

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